With gorgeous weather, picturesque beaches, unique wildlife, jaw dropping natural beauty and iconic cities Australia is an appealing place to escape the monotony of life back home. Each year thousands of young people travel to Australia’s sunny shores on working holiday visas, ready to explore the country while earning a bit of money – sometimes a lot of money!
Getting your working holiday visa and setting up your new life in Australia can be daunting when you’re planning it from thousands of miles away. I know how overwhelmed we were when we were planning our trip and how hard it was to find out all of the information we needed. Across this four part series of posts I’m going to give you every scrap of information you need for your working holiday in Australia.
Australia Working Holiday Visa 417 Details
The Australia Working Holiday visa is a subclass 417 visa – agencies and websites will usually just refer to it as a 417 visa. The 417 visa will give you the ability to work and live in Australia for one year with a maximum of 6 months with any one employer (details of this restriction here). You can study for up to 4 months and you can leave and re-enter the country as many times as you like during the year.
Once your 417 visa is granted you have one year to enter the country. If you don’t enter before a year then your visa is cancelled.
Australia Working Holiday Visa 417 Restrictions
You can apply for a 417 visa under the following conditions:
- You are outside of the country when you are applying for your first 417.
- You are aged between 18 – 30 years of age (there is talk of extending this to 35 years but for now it’s 30). One very important thing to note is that the visa must be granted before your 31st birthday, but you can enter the country after you turn 31. This is what Tim did – he was 30 when we applied and 31 when we entered the country.
- You don’t have any dependent children accompanying you to Australia at any time during your stay.
- You have a passport from one of the following countries:
- Republic of Cyprus
- Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China (including
British National Overseas passport holders)
- Republic of Ireland
- Republic of Korea
- United Kingdom.
Australia Working Holiday Visa Cost and Timelines
If you apply online directly through the Australian Government there is a charge of AUD $440 / £240 / €275. Third party agencies will cost more and fees vary depending on the agency (application process is outlined below)
Global visa processing times (taken directly from the HomeAffairs.Gov.au site on April ’18)
- 75 per cent of applications processed in 15 days
- 90 per cent of applications processed in 44 days
Before You Apply for your Australia Working Holiday Visa
Make sure you have all of the required documents and credit card ready. Here is the document checklist for the 417 visa from the Home Affairs website.
How to Apply for your Australia Working Holiday Visa
There are two ways to apply for your visa; directly through the Australian Immigration Bureau or through a third party agency. Tim applied directly and I went through an agency (silly mistake, wouldn’t recommend this option unless you reallllly hate paperwork and feel like you need extra support during the application and relocating process).
Australia immigration bureau:
The easiest and cheapest way to get your visa is to go directly to the source and apply online here. The application took Tim about 30 minutes and his visa was granted instantly. He was sent a PDF of his visa which he was able to show when we entered Australia.
This is the quickest and easiest way to get your 417 visa, and will save you money on agency fees. You create an account before you start the application so you can log out and save your progress if you find you don’t have everything you need.
Through an agency:
Applying though an agency will be more expensive and take longer than applying directly on the Immigration website. These agencies are targeted towards travellers that are overwhelmed with the process of getting their visa. They make it seem a lot more complicated than it is to convince you to apply through them and pay extra money. Avoid this option unless you genuinely can’t be bothered making the effort to learn how to apply yourself!
I applied through a company called VisaBureau and the visa cost me £349 / €400 – a lot more than if I applied directly. Not knowing enough about the application process, I couldn’t find a direct link to the Australian immigration website so I mistakenly assumed that you had to do it through an agency. It took nine days to get the visa granted (a lot longer than Tim’s took) and I was emailed the same PDF e-visa as he received.
Getting your Australia Working Holiday Visa
Your Working Holiday Visa is electronic and is tied to your passport number and your name as they appear on your passport. If you get your passport replaced or renewed after your visa has been granted you’ll have to contact the immigration department They will get the details changed on your Australian visa, if you don’t do this then you won’t be able to enter the country with your new passport. Here is the link to the form.
Entering Australia with your Working Holiday Visa
Entering the country on our 417 visas was super straightforward. At security we showed our electronic visas that were emailed to us by the immigration department.
After passing through border control we were both pulled aside and brought into a room by a border control officer. He was friendly and asked what we were planning to work as, what our plans were in Australia and how much money we had in our bank accounts. I gave a him a dollar value and he didn’t require any proof, but having a screenshot of your savings account might be helpful. After we answered the questions we were sent on our way – it only took around 5 minutes.
Extending your Australia Working Holiday Visa
If you have entered the country on a 417 there are two ways you can extend your visa and stay in the country for longer to work.
The Australian government allows working holiday visa holders to extend their visas for another year by completing 88 day of specified work in regional areas of Australia. Picking and harvesting fruit and vegetables seem to be the most popular form of farm with working holiday makers. Work can be taxing, especially in the heat, and working conditions can sometimes be pretty poor. Despite this, most backpackers will agree that it’s worth it to be able to stay on in Australia for another year.
Approved industries are as follows:
- plant and animal cultivation
- fishing and pearling
- tree farming and felling
If you’re working in a professional field in Australia you company may be able to sponsor you to stay in the country for the length of your employment. This TSS (Temporary Skills Shortage) Visa is only available to certain skilled occupations and you must pass a health and character check to obtain one of these visas.
That’s everything you need to know about applying for, and extending your working holiday visa! Next, check out the rest of the series:
- Part Two: Setting up your new life in Australia. From creating your bank account and choosing a phone plan to getting tax ready – and anything else you need to work in Australia.
- Part Three: Finding Accommodation in Australia. What hostels are like, house share or private rental?, how the housing market differs from home and how to ensure that you get a place in such a competitive market.
- Part Four: Finding a job in Australia. Whether you’re working in hospitality, doing a work away or pursuing a professional career I’ll run through everything you need to find a job when you arrive in Australia. Plus what you can expect to earn!
Thanks for reading!